The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition has obtained information detailing the pernicious business practices of a Harvard-owned foreign subsidiary. This information describes the environmental, economic, and social costs that Harvard’s irresponsible investment imposes on low-income communities.
This new information contradicts a letter from Harvard University President Drew Faust last week that states the Harvard endowment “fulfills a university’s distinctive responsibilities to society.”
Harvard University has a history of investments that seek financial returns at the expense of poor communities. In 2011, the University announced – under mounting public pressure – that it would not invest in Emergent Asset Management, a firm linked to large-scale land grabs in Africa. In 2012, the Harvard Management Corporation, which oversees Harvard’s $32 billion endowment, declined to reinvest in HEI Hotels following outcry over labor rights violations. In 2012 and again this past summer, Chilean courts fined a Harvard-owned company for environmental violations.
Over the past year, the administration has made progress to ensure the sustainability of its investments. However, the Coalition has documentation that these steps are profoundly insufficient and that immediate action must be taken to review and redress ongoing hazards to communities and the environment.